martedì 16 novembre 2010

Two advertising styles: "straight font" vs "curved font"

Art Nouveau advertising posters 

Wiener Werkstatte font in some posters of the group

Dynamic, undulating, and flowing lines in a syncopated rhythm, are found throughout the Art Nouveau graphics (advertisements, posters e font). All items, also the lettering, were pictured with curved flowing lines that were rarely symmetrical.
Instead Weiner Werkstatte group was obsessed with squares and grids, as is evident in these posters. The appearance of the letters and articles was unified by elements such as straight lines (orizontal, vertical and oblique) and decorative square.

lunedì 15 novembre 2010

An exhibit with buxom curves

Visiona II,
an environment by Verner Panton
for Bayer AG, 1970

In the context of the Cologne furniture fair in 1970 Bayer in cooperation with the Danish designer Verner Panton presented Visiona II, an almost breathtaking interior staging wallowing in colors and forms. The project presented motley colors and buxom curves. In fact some of the most famous  photographs shows a kind of interior cave made with soft and curved bulges in blue and red colour.

To explore Visiona II go on:

As some octagons become a curved sculpture

Erik and Martin Demaine created “Natural Cycles” as part of their exploration of curved folds in origami. They took a two-foot by two-foot piece of paper and cut the corners off to form an octagon. Then they creased concentric octagons within it with alternating folds. They dampened the paper, pressed all the folds at once, and put the edges of the paper in the shape of the cube’s Hamilton cycle. The combination of straight edges and straight folds formed a beautiful curved surface.

domenica 14 novembre 2010

Straight lines to advertise design objects

Op Art advertisement for Danese
Enzo Mari
published 1967

The impact of "Op" canvases was instant and dramatic. The dazzling, eye-catching visual effects of "Op" were useful to designers of logos, advertising graphics, fabrics and seemingly any two-dimensional surface which sought high impact in a fashionable idiom. These dramatic black and white patterns became ubiquitous.
In this graphic made for Danese, Enzo Mari proposes in an optical key his umbrella stand: it is drawn through straight black lines which are manipulated to communicate not only the silhouette of the object, but also its curved shape.

Corset: a garmet ... straight and curved!

The history of the corset shows us how this garment is designed by following and emphasizing as much as possible the female body; so it has sinuous and curved shapes. But, given the function to tighten the waist, sometimes it also presents straight and rigid parts. To better understand these are two types of corset.

Hourglass Corset
This is a drawing of the hourglass or "curvaceous corset". One of the major features of the hourglass style is that it provides more room for the lower ribs and is easier to reduce your waist-line quickly. This allows for optimum waist reduction with the minimum of effort.

Straight-Front or S-Curve Corset
This is the Straight-Front or S-Curve corset. In 1900 Madame Gaches-Sarraute, a Parisian corsetiere who studied medicine, designed the Straight-Front or S-Curve corset. This style of corset was designed to alleviate many of the stresses on the abdomen created by a corset.  It was a type of corset worn from the start of the nineteenth century until around 1907 and its name is derived from the very rigid, straight busk that was used down the center of the front. It was the most complex shape of corset ever made, because consisting of up to 48 intricately curved and shaped pieces. 

Curved shapes ... in fashion

Levi’s has listened to women everywhere and created a collection of jeans perfectly cut to fit curves. Their curved shape (based on a textile system developed by the company) offers three custom models based on women's shape and proportions. Through a worldwide research, Levi’s identified three primary body types: Slight Curve, Demi Curve, Bold Curve.

sabato 13 novembre 2010

Tube: how to bend a straight and industrial semifinished product

Tube bending is a process to create curves on thin-walled tubes also. It occurs on folding machines that can be fully automated and make bends in all directions, even with variable radius. This technology includes several variants.

Rotary Draw Bending
When rotary draw bending is applied, the tube is fastened between the bend die and the clamp die. The rotation of both tools around the bending axis bends the tube to the radius of the bend die. The pressure die (slide piece) serves the purpose of receiving the radial stress, which is generated during the forming process, and supports the straight tube end from outside. If a mandrel and wiper die are additionally applied (mandrel bending), a high quality work piece can be achieved even with thin-walled pipes and tight bending radii.

Compression Bending
It is similar to rotary draw bending. This bending method is carried out with a sliding carriage and a stationary bend die, between which the tube is clamped. The sliding carriage, which rotates around the radius block, bends the tube to the radius of the bend die.

Ram Bending (Press Bending)
When ram bending is applied, a radiused bending tool is pressed against two counter-rollers, either manually or by means of hydraulics. This motion forces the tube inserted between the radius block and the counter-rollers to bend around the radius. The tube cannot be supported from within, therefore this method is suitable for thick-walled tubes and large bending radii only.

3-roll Bending
This process is also used for producing work pieces with large bending radii. The method is similar to the ram bending method, but the working cylinder and the two stationary counter-rollers rotate, thus forming the bend

If you want to see a tube bending click here

Straight and curved in "scientific" stamps

These are some stamps related to various branches of science.
On them are depicted straight lines, curves and spirals typical
of the world of mathemayics, physics and chemistry.

Two mathematicians and their curves on stamps

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz (1646-1716): mathematician, scientist, philosopher.
Coins the term "function": it is necessary to identify the various quantities associated to a curve, including its value, the slope and the perpendicular at one point.

Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel (1784-1846): mathematician, astronomer.
He was the first to determine the distance of a star by measuring the parallax of 61 Cygni in 1838. With his precise observations could categorize the locations of more than 50000 stars and then he introduced mathematical functions now know by his name.

Stamps with curved objects and concepts

venerdì 12 novembre 2010

Straight and curved in light design

                         Arco, A. Castiglioni, Flos, 1962                  Luminator, A. Castiglioni, Flos, 1954

Two Castiglioni's lamps show that light designers like to experiment with both straight and curved shapes. In fact, by their nature, lamps can take various conformations, depending on the functional purpose and creativity of the designer.

mercoledì 10 novembre 2010

An Ode: 阿房宮賦 On the E Pang Palace

阿房宮賦》 【唐】  杜牧 
On the E Pang Palace    【Tang Dynasty】   Du Mu


Translation:"After the end of the Six Kings the empire bounded by the four seas was unified under a single ruler; and with Shu Shan stripped of its woods, the E Pang Palace appeared. It stretched to more than three hundred li, covering the sun in the sky; and from the north of Li-Shan it meandered to the west, and then made straightway for Hsien Yang. Two rivers flowing gently coursed their way into the palace-walls.
At each five steps there stood a storeyed building, and at each ten steps, there stood a hall, with corridors winding like waving silk, and the projecting eaves turning high up like birds' bills. Each of the structures possessed its vantage of ground; but they were all ingeniously interlocked together, or one set against another. Some were domed, and others were curved. The courts were like so many cells in the beehive; and of the lofty eave-drippings who can tell how many millions they were.
The long bridge is lying upon the waves; how can the dragon come without clouds? The roofed causeway is stretched in the air; how can the rainbow appear without having a clearing-up sky? Both the high and the low are shrouded in the mists, and it is hard to distinguish the east from the west.
When the singing platform was re-echoed with happy songs, it was full of genial warmth of the spring; but when the dancing sleeves became cold in the dancing hall, it was chilling like wind and rain. The climate did remain the same even on the same day and in the same palace!..." >>



Sima Qian in the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.) provided a full account in Shiji ("The Records of the Grand Historian") that Xiang Yu, a rebel leader attempting to overthrow the tyranny of Qin, burned the Epang Palace to the ground in a massive uprising.
And the renowned poet Du Mu in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) described in detail the splendor of the Epang Palace in his "Epang Palace Fu" (fu is one of the Chinese literary forms akin to poetry).
All these ancient Chinese literary sources for centuries convinced people that a luxurious, imposing, and vigorous Epang Palace did exist and it also saw the transitory brilliance and the expeditious demise of the Qin empire.

Simple harmonic motion

In physics, simple harmonic motion (SHM) is a periodic motion that is neither driven nor damped. An object in simple harmonic motion experiences a net force which obeys Hooke's law; that is, the force is directly proportional to the displacement from the equilibriliium position and acts in the opposite direction of the displacement.
A simple harmonic oscilattor is a system which undergoes simple harmonic motion. The oscillator oscillates about an equilibrium position (or mean position) between two extreme positions of maximum displacement in a periodic manner. In fact, the motion of the oscillator can be described by means of a sinusoidal function. Mathematically, the displacement from the equilibrium position x is given by
 x(t) = A\cos\left(\omega t + \phi\right),
A is the amplitude which is the maximum distance from the equilibrium position (in SI units m);
ω is the angular frequency which is a multiple of frequency f, and ω = 2πf (in SI unit: s-1);
φ is the phasewhich is the elapsed fraction of wave cycle.

The concept of straight in the Futurism

Futurism, artistic and literary avant-garde, conceived the pure shapes and straight lines as the most appropriate to represent the mechanization. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti proclaimed: "... the straight line will not lead us to the imitation of the Egyptians, or of primitive savages. Our straight line will be alive and vibrant, fits all the needs of the countless expressions of matter and its naked severity will be the symbol of the severity of steel lines of modern machinery. However, there is neither painting nor sculpture, nor music, nor poetry that does not feel the need for a special rate of movement, so you can apply any device that can make a rhythmic movement of the plans or appropriate to the lines". He claimed, lastly, that "... in an intersection of the plans of a book with the corners of a table, in a straight match, in the frame of a window, there is more truth that in all tangled muscles, in all breasts and buttocks of all heroes or venus that inspire modern idiot sculpture".

Design: straight.

One chair, by C. Grcic for Magis

Red and blue chair, by G. Rietveld

Mies chair, by Archizoom for Poltronova

Hill House chair, by C. R. Mackintosh

Superleggera, by G. Ponti for Cassina

Libreria Carlton, by E. Sottsass jr. for Memphis

Pat McGee Band: Straight Curve Lyrics

We're going down a straight curve, all along the while
And people have you heard, all about the child
Up above God asked you, won't you hold it down
Feeling our way through, digging up the sound
And the blanket of hope surrounds us, feeding our every thought
Covering us from all the bad luck, wanting to never be caught
We can see the lightning now, Blinding both our eyes somehow
We will do as we're told, Standing by our very souls
Wishing only what should not be, Won't somebody answer me
Out of sight, not out of mind, Soon we're running out of time
We're going down a straight curve, things never look the same
Life seems so absurd, ain't if time for a change
The old ones for the new kind, you can't leave the home
It's gonna get worse with time, But you're no longer alone
And if the ball rolls off this sand hill road,
Someone's there to see it down
"This cup's half full" is the way we chose, The only way around
We're going down a straight curve, trying not to lose our minds
Holding on at every turn, never keeping between the lines
Virginia's always home to us, feeding our heads with hope
We don't think about it much, cause we know we'll always know
If the time runs out on our show somehow,
you'll be there to turn it back
So check your coat; you'll be here for now
realizing what we have

domenica 7 novembre 2010

Exhibit: Space is curved or straight?

Present in Mario Merz from the beginning, the image of the cosmic spiral becomes the distinctive feature of his work, displaying the sequence of numbers discovered by the mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci and chosen by the artist to represent the natural processes that regulate growth. The spiral represents the relation between art, mathematics and cosmology.

The spiral was also the protagonist of one of his famous shows of 1990: "The space is curved or straight?". It was a total work created with iron, bundles of wood, glass, neon and newspapers and with it Mario Merz applied his conviction to incorporate all areas of a museum in his work, rather than simply to show his works in architectural space. The installation was flowing from outside to inside, from the museum at the square, creating a path along three hundred yards of charm that gave the impression which the nature invaded the museum.

Today designers experiment ... with the curved!

The curves expressing softness, comfort and sensuality. For this reason, designers are fascinated by the potential of the curved forms which, by their nature, are applicable to the design of chairs and armchairs, but also in other objects in the home.

And, chair-sculpture by Fabio Novembre for Cappellini, 2002

Krysalis, sofa by Karim Rashid for Felicerossi, 2005

Bookworm, library by Ron Arad for Kartell, 1994 

"Curved design" of the Sixties and Seventies

An overview of some curved objects that are symbols of design in the '60s and 70s

Djinn chair and stool, Oliver Mourgue, 1965

Bubble chair, Eero Aarnio, 1965

Eclipse lamp, Vico Magistretti, 1967

Safari seating system, Archizoom, 1967

Superonda, Archizoom, 1967

Pastilli chair, Eero Aarnio, 1968

Up, Gaetano Pesce, 1969

Tube chair, Joe Colombo, 1969

Living tower, Verner Panton, 1969

 Mouth, Studio 65, 1971

Ribbon chair, Gruppo G14, 1971

A straight and curved ... artist!

Frank Stella is the most significant representative of the Minimal Art, evolved in the 60s and 70s.
The most famous production of him consists of a series of monochromatic paintings or limited color scale, based on the strip. Then, in the late 60s, Stella also introduces the curves in his work.

" My painting are based on the fact that within them there is only what you can see"
(Frank Stella)

Sunset Beach, Sketch
flourescent and plain alkyd painting, 1967


Flin Flon III
synthetic painting on canvas, 1969 

Madinat as-Salam I
polymer and flourescent paint on canvas, 1970

Some curvilinear architecture today

Shuhei Eendo
Springtecture H
Singu-cho, Hyogo, Giappone, 1998
These small public baths are surrounded by school buildings in a park.
The outer shell isn't made of two sheets, but of only one shaped like a curved spiral

Santiago Clatrava
Vigneto Ysios
Laguardia, Spagna, 1998-2001
Concrete, cedar wood and alluminium are the materials used for te construction and the cover.
The roof rests on the rolling bearing walls that give the building an animated image
in contrast to the calm that exudes the environment.

When an architect loves curved lines

Frank Owen Gehry
(Toronto, 1929)

"Architecture should speak of time and place
but yearn for timelessness"

Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spagna, 1991-1997

Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, Stati Uniti, 1987-2003

Hotel Marques de Riscal, Elciego (Alava), Spagna, 2006 

If you want to see the trailer of "Sketches of Frank Gehry" by Sidney Pollack go on:

Two projects in comparison

Curved Architecture
Casa Milà, Antonio Gaudì, 1905-1912, Barcellona.
The architect uses the curved line as a basic element. It is clearly zoomorphic
and recalls the wave of the sea in its structure, interior and facade.
The whole building is so devoid of straight lines, even plants of the garden
and apartaments follow a curvilinear design.

Straight Architecture
Villa in mattoni, Mies Van der Rohe, 1924, Postdam.
The composition runs only on straight lines arranged in an asymmetrical way.
There are no curved path and it is clear the influence of Neoplasticism movement
on the architect, especially the paintings of Piet Mondrian.